Tom Robinson was shot while trying to escape from prison.
In a way, Bob Ewell killed Tom Robinson. He was the one who accused him of raping Mayella. Since Tom didn’t really do it, but the jury convicted him anyway, Tom Robinson’s death was partly Ewell’s fault. It was also partly the jury’s fault. They convicted an innocent man.
Tom Robinson had already been in jail for a while when he was convicted, awaiting trial. He believed that the trial was his one shot at justice. When he was convicted, he was devastated. Atticus tried to tell him that they could appeal the decision, but Tom didn’t believe they would succeed. He felt that his life was over.
“They shot him,” said Atticus. “He was running. It was during their exercise period. They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing over. Right in front of them—” (Ch. 24)
With two good arms, Tom Robinson would have made it over the fence. He was that strong. However, he only had one good arm and he didn’t make it. The guards didn’t want to shoot him. They shot some warning rounds into the air. He didn’t listen. He kept going, and they shot him. It was what is called "suicide by cop." He wanted to end his life on his terms, since he couldn’t control it.
Tom Robinson’s death was a tragedy. Even Mr. Underwood, a blatant racist, thought that his death was a travesty. He wrote about it in the paper.
Mr. Underwood didn’t talk about miscarriages of justice, he was writing so children could understand. Mr. Underwood simply figured it was a sin to kill cripples, be they standing, sitting, or escaping. He likened Tom’s death to the senseless slaughter of songbirds by hunters and children … (Ch. 25)
Tom Robinson never hurt anyone. He was a kind man, and he was trying to help Mayella because he felt sorry for her. For his troubles he got a rape trial, and lost his liberty. His death is a tragedy because he was a scapegoat in his society. Like Mr. Underwood said, it was like killing a mockingbird.